U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited Johnson County Community College on Thursday as part of a weeklong tour and praised the college’s job training programs.
“It’s part of our Rethink School tour that is focusing on innovation and creativity in education,” DeVos told reporters after she visited with students and faculty at the school.
Meanwhile, across the street from the campus, more than 50 protesters rallied at College Boulevard and Quivira Road to criticize what they see as DeVos’ attack on public education and her excessive support for private and for-profit schools.
“To me, public school is the glue that holds our democracy together, so I’m here to support public school and the continuation of the public school system,” said Sara Kircher of Prairie Village.
DeVos said this week’s tour was designed to highlight “what’s working” in education. She has visited schools in Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska and on Friday plans a stop at the Kansas City Academy, a small private school in the Waldo neighborhood that’s known for its approach to arts education.
At Johnson County Community College she observed students including Daniel Ward, a 25-year-old student who already has a job building police cars but is enhancing his skills with the automotive technology program.
“Technical schools aren’t getting the attention they need,” Ward said, adding that applied science programs can be just as…